Opening Day for 85th legislative session is set for Tuesday, January 10th, 2017. This upcoming session is expected to draw attention to important issues like taxation, school finance and reforming our foster care system. To prepare for the consideration of bills, the Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House appoint interim and standing committees to study certain issues. In the year between legislative sessions, these committees hold hearings and take public testimony to hear from stakeholders.

Speaker of the House Joe Straus assigned more than 150 interim charges for committees to research and study. He focused on three main priorities: supporting private-sector growth, creating opportunity through education and continuing to make government more transparent. For example, Speaker Straus assigned the House Public Education Committee the task of examining the system the state uses to determine how much to fund schools per student.

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick issued his interim assignments to the Senate committees. The committees were told to research improving foster care, eminent domain, groundwater issues and property tax appraisal. The Lt. Governor and the Speaker of the House committee assignments did overlap on several topics. Both chambers had committees monitor the implementation of campus carry legislation and research the possibility of eliminating the franchise tax that is imposed on businesses.

My colleagues and I are very excited for the 85th legislative session to begin. I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve our great communities and the state of Texas.